Temptation: The Reboot – Part 1

So we rebooted the original Temptation story that was mildly popular on this blog some years ago. This reboot is set 5 years after – some X-men type thing. Just assume Jessica and Nneka are dead … well, because they are both dead to me, now.

It begins *drumroll please*

I hobbled to my seat and collapsed, sweating profusely yet sheepishly happy. I was relieved I did not fall, but I was excited too. I had begun to regain my ability to walk gradually, and even though I still could not move for more than five minutes without pausing to rest, I could move about a lot more freely than the week before when I just got my cast taken out.

Nonetheless, I was feeling giddy because of her. I did not know her name but I knew I had met true beauty as soon as I glanced her way. Her face shone the way I imagine Moses’s did when he came down from Sinai with the Ten Commandments. Her glow was beyond ‘on fleek’ and her eyes – hazel colored and inquisitive, darting around the room every five seconds – somehow also held a deep, soothing gaze that convinced me all was well with the world despite the near-excruciating pain in my right ankle.
Her complexion was what you imagine the person who first described a lady ‘ebony’ had in mind; it was brilliantly beautiful .. and black :). She was not particularly tall but she had one of those absurdly curvy shapes that you could see even if she was seated normally behind a makeshift attachment desk in a crowded classroom. She was not what I would typically classify as ‘my type’ but immediately I saw her, I knew I never really had a type. Yep, she immediately dispelled any myths I had been peddling to myself that I had a type and banished them to the same cerebral pit where the ‘memories’ of ‘Lady Koin Koin’ and the legendary India 100-1 Nigeria football match had been sent to immediately I had any real sense of how reality works.
I had to get to know her. I knew I had to . . . but ‘os courfe’, my rational brain kicked in.
‘Niccur, you’re a mess, half a leg, shabbily dressed, not particularly attractive and a tad geeky… Boy, there’s no way you’ll get beyond a half-arsed Hello in response’.
But like with all stupid decisions I have made in my admittedly short life – despite possessing what I believe to be a brain firmly lodged in the 95th percentile when measured for analytical prowess, I allowed my emotional, eternal optimist brain have its say.
The mad guy was all like;
‘Guy!!!, you’re over 6’5, your limp is clearly one of the best ice breakers in this place, you speak well most times, you are smart, you can act nonchalantly wealthy and you can always project your “effortless” depth if she’s not feeling you from the off … and yes, your looks are pretty limited but you tick two out of the three famous requirements that make up the popular TDH checklist – You can do this, mehn!’.
Of course, the rational brother had to warn me again;
‘Brother, don’t do this to us, eez not by force to talk to this fine girl today, you will just spoil your mind for no good reason when she rejects you’.
Guys, I weighed everything in my near perfect pro Vs con mental counter and decided to ignore the overwhelming victory that the cons fought so hard for. I made a beeline for her seat armed with minimal game, zero strategy, an average smile and a limp that would make even my most optimistic cheerleader predict that I was going to crash and burn. I got to her seat and before she could look up, from the edge of my eye, I saw my mouth begin to produce words I wasn’t thinking. It was almost as if there was some puppet master in my brain I had never met before now pulling my verbal strings. The words I heard were;
‘Hey Mamacita!, come let’s get ma familia (more familiar?)’. She smiled … I was relieved .. then I discovered she had been intently reading something on her phone … she looked up .. ‘Oh, were you talking to me?’ … panic set in .. from the corner of my eyes, I could see a couple of disbelieving stares from some of  the people I would be spending at least the next six months with . . . I could smell the judgement and could hear the inner voices in their heads saying ‘this guy must have a death wish’.
The seconds passed as she looked up at me expecting any answer, my crippling social anxiety was already in cruise mode. ‘Who send you?’ my rational brain asked mockingly.
It was too late to turn back now and I decided to forget all I knew and just talk . . . and talk I did. I honestly cannot remember much of what I said but I know I got many wry smiles, maybe like four full smiles and a couple of genuine big laughs. I know I felt like Picasso painting The Girl Before a Mirror as I spit lyrics I never knew I was capable of composing.
The most vivid memory from the encounter was the wide-eyed shock mixed with unabashed envy I saw resting on the face of the guy seated beside her when I successfully elicited my second big laugh from Uke … Yes, her name is Uke, and yes, I never hexperredit at the time.
It was not a one-sided conversation, though. She was way more intelligent than she was beautiful – and she was breathtakingly gorgeous. Our repartee left me wondering whether she had any blemishes. She had – a wild side – but more on that later. I hobbled back to my seat, refusing to make eye contact with her even though I could feel her eyes tracking my every move. My ‘blaad’ was already throway-ing hailings from his seat as I took mine and within seconds, I had received his ‘Baba!! (with the two raised hailing hands emoji)’ congratulatory Whatsapp message. I smiled and my eternal optimist brain was all like;
‘My niccur! I know say one day you go make us proud. No dey doubt yourself again, mehn! you be bad guy!!’.
Over the next couple of months, I and Uke got really close and exactly a year after I met her, we were engaged and for those of you who I forgot to invite, we walked(no limping anymore) down the aisle last week and I’m pretty certain we will live happily ever after . . .
Okay, so apology time. This whole story is littered with falsehoods. In fact, I think the closest thing to the absolute truth is my height.  I no get the kain sendlessness needed to pull this off yet. Nevertheless, the girl, Uke, is very real and I met her in a class similar to the one I described(or did not) in my tale above. I did not have the balls to even mumble words to her till a couple of weeks later and it was just greeting kind of talk. I still imagine we will eventually start something and end up together in marital bliss but I have been led to believe that I first have to take my conversations with her beyond ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’ level.
Unfortunately, I do not see that happening any time soon. Her beauty dey constantly tie my tongue. I think I will just write her a letter (and add my picture because I’m pretty certain she will not recognize my name) and slip it into her bag when she steps out of class.
Yep, I am as pathetic as that. So for those of you out there feeling bad at your lack of game, just remember that there’s a weird Gareth guy out there who drafted an imaginary story of how he met and got married to a girl that he actually hasn’t met and wrote this full imagination in over 1,000 words on his blog that the girl does not read(or know of its existence). . . Smh, such a loser
By Gareth Glover(… a pseudonym)

The Rise and Rise of Phyno – Nigeria’s Best Igbo Rapper

This article was written on Saturday, 22nd March 2014.

– Gist Editor

————————————————————————————————————

I woke up this Saturday morning with only one plan on my mind – to purchase ‘No Guts No Glory’ – the debut album of one of Nigeria’s premier indigenous artists – Phyno. Now, I pride myself as the kind of person to discover a prospect as soon as he or she bursts onto the stage, but for Phyno, it was very different. I first came across his music unwittingly in early 2009 back in my school days. It was a remix of Okpomekwe(A very ‘igbotic’ though highly didactic track) which was a hit back in the east. Big Phyno(his moniker back then) was completely outshined on the track by Slow Dog and Desperate Chicks and barely registered in my memory. In the same year, the name Phyno popped up again in my consciousness as I discovered that he produced the beat for ‘Life Anagaga'(one of my top Nigerian songs in 2009). Months later, I heard Phyno’s ‘Multiply’ featuring  some of Nigeria’s musical heavyweights(Flavour, Timaya, M.I etc) and once more Phyno was comfortably outclassed. I really couldn’t see what he had going for him other than the fact that he seemed to be pretty good at musical production. I couldn’t have been more off the mark.

Phyno 1Yep . . . couldn’t see any talent in this guy

It wasn’t too long after, and while camped in the remote Nsit Atai, that I first heard ‘Anamachikwanu’ – the first song I felt showed a new side to a rapper who would soon become a nationwide phenomenon. At this time, Phyno was barely known in the east or pretty much anywhere outside Enugu. But the moment ‘Anamachikwanu’ dropped – he blew up all over the east and most parts of the South-South region of the nation. He didn’t drop a single line apart from the chorus but the unique edge he  brought to the song was clear for everyone to see and I sat up and took notice. After the ‘Anamachikwanu’ buzz died down a bit, he released a few more admirable singles – ‘Shutdown’ and ‘Can’t you see’ to name a few.  He also featured on many others gradually outshining fellow features and on a few occasions, the actual track owners. By December 2012, Phyno went national with one of the biggest hits Nigeria has seen in a long while – ‘Ghost Mode’ featuring Olamide (another indigenous great). The track had everything . . . there was rhythm, wordplay, punchlines, witty back and forths, exceptional delivery and bite. Both artists brought their A-game and neither was outshined.

PhynoPhyno – Eerily Talented

All of a sudden, you were just as likely to hear a Phyno track being played in a bar somewhere in Onitsha as you were to hear it played at an ‘Owambe’ somewhere in Ibadan. Refusing to rest on his laurels, he released ‘Man of the Year’ – a sensational Igbo rap roller coaster which you couldn’t help shaking your head to (in appreciation) regardless of your level of understanding of the language. The track eventually won him ‘The Headies Best Rap Single’ Award and firmly ensured this ‘east coast n*gga was now firmly banging in the west’. The Igbo word ‘Obago’ means ‘he has entered’ and Phyno had well and truly entered the elite of Nigerian rap, and mainstream music for that matter, now ‘making commercial money without a dance track’.

Phyno 2Now he’s finally here – ‘Obago’

Phyno truly ensured he remained 2013’s ‘Man of the Year’ by releasing a series of killer singles and videos which shot him into 3rd place in Nigeria’s top 10 Most Gifted Rappers list by Notjustok.com-Nigeria’s premier music website. The numerous number of tracks and albums he featured on in 2013 went further to cement his place among Nigeria’s top musicians. Olamide, Yung6ix, Dr SID and Phenom are just a few of the rappers who had no choice but to put him on their projects and as expected, Phyno delivered to perfection. His rise and improvement have been almost astronomic and he showed exactly how a transition from mediocrity to excellence could be achieved, to a degree rarely ever seen in the Nigerian music industry. His creativity is the one thing that sets him apart from the rest of the crowd and if he keeps up his level of  ambition he could be the first Nigerian export to go truly global with indigenous rap.

Phyno has shown no signs of stopping, no signs of slacking, no signs of letting up or even cutting back on his improvement levels. As I head out to purchase my most anticipated album of 2014, I expect nothing less than brilliance from ‘Phynofino’ – ‘the playmaker’, the self acclaimed ‘man of the year’ who keeps assuring us that ‘Onwe be di ihe i fu'(You haven’t seen anything yet). If it is true that we haven’t seen the half of this man’s talent, then Nigerian music is in for a period of utter dominance by Phyno and tracks like Splash’s ‘Onye Ije’ where the young upstart was torn to shreds by Phyno in less than a quarter of the track will become more common but with bigger more accomplished rappers.

Phyno-Parcel-VideoPhyno, now “A big Nwa” – murdering rappers with ease

Phyno(Azubuike Chibuzo Nelson) has taken indigenous rap(and Igbo rap in particular) to the next level. I look forward to hearing a lot more from Phyno in the coming years and I believe the vast majority of music-loving Nigerians look forward to the same too. He’s a good singer, a better producer and one of the best rappers in the country. Hopefully he doesn’t lose the fire or get sidetracked like the once great M.I. did so spectacularly. If he doesn’t, ‘No Guts No Glory’ will merely be a launch pad for a truly ‘phyno’menal rapper and an even better musician ‘representing the best albinos'(according to Slow Dog).

By I.V Okata . . . A lover of good music

Follow him on Twitter @IzutaDGaffer

My Return to Football

It’s been forever since I actually had enough time to contemplate writing a piece and I sincerely apologize to each of you – followers of Gistoscope and first time readers(I’m gracious like that). But, I’m back like Johann Sebastian(Hehehe) and I’ll try to stick around for as long as my schedule allows.

bach 2Johann Sebastian Bach looking sideways for a change

Okay, to the topic of this post. Football! I finally sat down to watch weekend football for the first time in a long while and this is a mish mash post about the experience and my random thoughts on the premier league – Enjoy!

I started with the Ram-zil-ian Arsenal(I definitely did not just make that up – true story). I felt this would be an ideal platform on which to base judgment of their title credentials. For the first time since the season just after they sold Henry(2007 abi 2008), they’ve actually put together a run of results akin to those of League Winners in the past.  So, I sat down to watch the Gunners . . . and well . . . I wasn’t disappointed. A big loss to a title rival just when the team is picking up a bit of heat has become a mainstay characteristic of the trophy-less Arsenal teams of the past.  I’d like to leave it at that, however, I feel it is only fair to say I saw significant improvements from the young team in red and white. Apart from the obvious increase in class which Ozil offers them, they had real thrust with the pace of Walcott down the right as well as the combined athleticism and general box-to-box-ness(of course, that’s a word) of Ramsey and Wilshere. Which brings me to Ramsey. His improvement, while massive and astonishing, has also been immensely heartwarming. I remember the combined blend of grief, pity and sheer sadness that engulfed I and my friends as we saw his severed leg hanging bizarrely after Shawcross had decimated him way back in 2011. He has become a whole new animal this season and is definitely my surprise of the season. Of course, they’ve been drawn with Bayern Munich and I feel as things look currently, it’s fair to say things are looking a bit bleak for the serious team from North London on the European front.

ramzil 3 ramzil 4The Ram-zil-ian Arsenal in full flow

Manchester City, their opponents on Sunday have been up and down more times than a jumping jack high on crack. The cliché – from the sublime to the ridiculous- best describes their performance thus far. So many excellent victories especially at home have been followed by shockingly poor losses(normally away). For those of you who follow this blog, you’ll know I tipped them to win the league this season, and I stand by that  prediction against my better judgment. Aguero’s injury could potentially topple their season but I believe if Pellegrini can work on consistently getting the best out of this team, then the League is theirs to lose(Sorry Gunners, I’m just not convinced).

Now unto the other pretenders, Liverpool have really impressed me this season and Suarez has upped his game to an even more surreal level. He’s been more than fantastic and provided he does nothing silly(and by silly, I mean insane, senseless and outrageous), he should break Ronaldo’s 34 goal record. However, I think third is the most they can hope to achieve this season.

suarez 2Suarez looking pretty calm . . .

Chelsea seem to possess class in goal, defence and attacking midfield. However, the considerable decrease in the quality of the options in both the defensive midfield and the striker slots mean consistency is but a pipe dream unless Mourinho changes formation radically or gets some real quality into the club during the transfer window. They are out of the Carling Cup, though which I’m sure will really pinch Jose. Their Champions League draw is also pretty interesting but that’s a story for some other time. David Moyes has started off below average on his Ultimate Challenge and has already lost the trust of many of the club’s fans. However, unlike many other teams(Spurs!- another story for another day), the United management don’t make knee-jerk decisions and as things are, you can be sure Moyes will have at the very least a full year and half before he can realistically get sacked. Funny enough- Everton seem to be doing better than ever(yet another story for another day)

And Southampton, there’s no way I’d leave them out. They’ve been the surprise team of the season for me which says a lot about the work done by Pochettino and whoever it is that’s in charge of transfers over there.

There’s so much more I’d like to write about but this is not the piece for all that. As the days roll by, I’d be writing insight pieces on smaller subplots in football and the premier league especially. I think the next one should be the worn out Messi-C Ronaldo Ballon D’Or argument with the slight twist of Ribery. So, till then – Namaste and have a good day.

NeyberyJust a random, unrelated picture of your run-off-the-mill NeyBery

By I.V Okata . . . an avid football lover

Follow him on Twitter @IzutaDGaffer

Picture Sources –

http://www.telegraph.co.uk, http://www.mirror.co.uk, http://www.culturacolectiva.com, http://www.hiilkubad.com

Temptation: the Story, Part 4

This is the fourth installment of this story . . .

Here’s a link to the first part Temptation: the Story →

And here’s one to the second part Temptation: the Story, Part Two →

And for the third part Temptation: the Story, Part Three →

PART FOUR BEGINS HERE . . .

What she said to me rang continuously in my head for the next few seconds. I have a fiancé. I could not understand it. It couldn’t be true. It was impossible. I glanced at my watch, it was just past seven pm. The serene, pleasant environment in the restaurant contrasted acutely with the discord that tore at the strings of my heart. I returned my gaze to her very beautiful eyes. Jessica looked even more stunning today. An awkward silence had blanketed us and she just stared at me . . . her eyes searching mine for a reply, any reply at all. The silence wasn’t uncomfortable, though. . . Nothing about Jessica was uncomfortable. The eventful circumstances on the night of the day that I met her meant the bond we shared was as good as eternal. Since that night, she had been awarded a very special spot in my heart. No one, no action, nothing at all could cause her to lose that spot. Even this bomb of a revelation. As I carefully pondered the next words to say, my mind cast back to that night . . . the fateful night when Nneka’s life hung in the balance . . .

That night, I had finally begun to shiver when we pulled into the driveway at Helix Medical Centre. Before I could make a move, the tall, fair driver was already carrying Nneka out and hurrying her motionless body towards the emergency section, closely followed by a concerned-looking Jessica. I felt light-headed as I clambered out of the car to follow them into the hospital. I had narrated the bizarre tale to the two relative strangers who had come to my rescue as the driver sped towards the hospital. I glanced at Nneka and she looked peaceful . .  a far cry from the emotions that were running through my mind as I, as best as I could in my condition, explained the events of the night. When I was done with my story, Jessica told me she was almost asleep when she heard Chizzie pick my call earlier . Apparently, she and the driver, who I discovered was her brother, had just come into town for a bit to see some of their friends and they were spending the night at Chizzie’s rather than at a hotel because Chizzie vehemently refused to allow them sleep anywhere else. Classic Chizzie , I thought, as the small salon car sped through the endless network of roads in GRA.

‘Immediately Chizzie told me about your situation, I woke my brother who was sleeping in the living room and with a basic description from Chizzie, we were able to find you’ Jessica had said.

I was grateful, but the prevailing emotion was surprise.  I was surprised that someone was willing to brave the night in a land that was relatively new to him or her to help an individual he or she barely knew. Jessica was truly a wonderful person. After a while, the doctor came out to inform us that Nneka wasn’t dead, but that she had some medical condition. He mentioned some things about a genetic collagen deficiency which led to temporary muscle paralysis probably triggered by a stressful situation. He went on to say some other things I couldn’t process or remember. All I recalled with clarity was the overwhelming sense of relief that flooded me the moment I heard him say ‘She’s not dead’. The doctor advised we left her there for a while so he could study the peculiarity of her case and suggest the best way forward. Soon after, myself, Jessica and her brother left. Before they dropped me off at my house, we first took a detour to Nneka’s place where we secured her property and my car.

The next morning, before heading to work, I got an auto-mechanic and took him to Nneka’s place to look at my car. It turned out that it was a minor problem with the battery terminals which he fixed very easily. I opened Nneka’s room, cleaned the pool of blood on the blue-tiled floor and pocketed the sheet of paper where Jessica had written down her number the day before. I took a few clothes and other basic necessities from her packed bags, then locked up and left for Helix Medical Centre. I was very happy to see Nneka awake though still less vivacious than normal. Her skin was a bit pale especially her face which appeared almost ghostly white. Against my better judgment to let her rest, and as a result of her insistence, I told her everything that went down the day before. She was very surprised that ‘this Jessica'(as she put it) was so willing to help and looked at me funnily when I said Jessica was a lovely person. She wanted to say some more but I urged her to rest and regain her strength. Soon after, her drugs kicked in and she fell asleep. I left her sleeping and went to work.

My mind returned to the present. Jessica had a fiancé. How? Why? How come she hadn’t mentioned it?  We had grown really close in the last two months so it must have been a really difficult task to keep such big news under wraps. Over those months, I called her at least once every two days. On occasion, I would call as much as thrice a day. She was so easy to discuss with, her voice so soft and soothing.  We would talk for hours at times; laughing, sharing funny stories and just allowing our imaginations run wild as we laughed and discussed the unpredictability of the future. While I did the majority of the calling, she always texted me. She would send all types of texts from the short ‘Hey, Wats up?’s to the long poetic messages about how she valued our friendship. I had grown to really care about her without actually seeing her in the course of those months. Now I was with her, it was unbelievable how palpable the chemistry between us was. She had just come into town the day before and I insisted we hung out the next day. She obliged and I brought her to my favorite restaurant- Sky High. I didn’t spend too long on chit chat. Immediately we had ordered a meal, I poured out my heart to her, telling her how I never felt the way I felt about her with anyone else, telling her how badly I wanted her to be mine, telling her how often I thought about her and how I couldn’t keep those thoughts to myself anymore. She looked at me and the expression on her face was one I had never seen before. A sullen, solemn look had settled in where excitement and exuberance once shone proudly as she said;

‘I have a fiancé’

I was shocked. My brain refused to process the message my ears were passing across. I opened my mouth to say something . . . anything . . . but I couldn’t form the words. After what felt like forever, I eventually asked;

‘Where is he now?’

She looked down at the table and replied;

‘Offshore’

And after a short pause added ‘He works on a rig offshore’.

‘Okay’ I said.

It was all I could say. The rest of the night went on uneventfully. I dropped her off at Chizzie’s house later on and went home. I undressed, showered, got into my pajamas and lay on my  bed with the lights off, air condition at 16 degrees, everywhere very quiet. I replayed Jessica’s words in my head again and again. I have a fiancé. I could not understand why she hadn’t told me about it earlier, why she didn’t see such a crucial detail as important, why she would lead me on, knowing fully well how close we were growing to one another. As I lay there lost in thought, a shrill sound pierced my fortress of solitude and self reflection. I opened my eyes to see my phone ringing. The caller ID read ‘Jessica’. I let it ring till it disconnected. It rang a few more times but I ignored each. Then after about ten minutes, I heard a different tone, a shorter one, it was a message. As I reached to see the contents of the message, the phone began to ring again. This time, it was a call from Nneka. She told me she had something to tell me which was very important and that she was coming over to see me. I couldn’t say no to Nneka, she was one of a few true friends I still had.

Over the last two months, I had spent a significant amount of time with Nneka. I had informed her office of her health issues, visited her at the hospital everyday till she was discharged and paid her regular visits since she was discharged to find out how she was doing. The doctor had recommended drugs and a strict fat-free diet to help her get back to full fitness – two things she really hated. Owing to this, I felt compelled to visit her regularly to encourage her to stick to the doctor’s orders and to cheer her up. However, I couldn’t fathom why she would be coming to visit me this night. It was strange. She sounded pretty terse on the phone and I was really concerned. I glanced at the big circular clock in my bedroom, it had just crossed 8:30pm. I looked at  my phone and saw that the message was from Jessica. I opened it and saw a very long message. It read;

‘Hey, dear. How are you? I’m really sorry for not telling you about my fiancé. We’ve been engaged for about three months but I don’t love him. I only accepted his proposal because we’ve been dating since I was in high school. The truth is I was really scared of pushing you away and that’s why I never mentioned him. You’ve made me so happy these last two months and made me feel things I haven’t felt about anyone. Please dear, I’m in a very tight situation, give me a little time to work this out. I love you’.

What the hell? I read the message again and still couldn’t believe what I read. ‘Give me a little time to work this out, I love you’ she had written. What did this mean? The last part of the message stirred something in me. I read that part again and couldn’t help smiling sheepishly. Jessica loves me . .Then, I heard a soft knock on my front door. I glanced out the window to confirm it was Nneka and it was. She seemed deep in thought. I gently unlocked and opened the door and welcomed her in. I wasn’t at all ready for what happened next.

As I closed the door and turned to face my visitor, I saw Nneka standing directly in front of me. Before I could say anything, she leaned up and kissed me full on the lips. I pulled away, surprised. Nneka who was like a sister to me had just kissed me in a completely un-sisterly way. I looked into her eyes and saw a fire I had never seen there before. She looked me dead in the eyes and with the confidence I always admired her for, said;

‘I’ve wanted to do that for so long . . . ‘

She paused for a moment, looked around the room, then looked back at me. Her next words would change my life forever. She said;

‘I’ve also wanted to say this for a while . . . I love you’

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

By Gareth Glover . . . a pseudonym

The Ultimate Challenge of David Moyes

It is May, 2013 and we are in England. Practically every European league has ended on a limp note due to the fact that one team had led comfortably all the way through. Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, PSG, Celtic and numerous others across the continent are all crowned Champions by many long before the season is done with. This is unacceptable. It is clear that the changes would be rung across Europe with numerous big name managers forced to leave their posts to be replaced by other, ironically, big name managers. This is the way it has been since the cash stakes at football clubs became this high so no one is surprised. Real Madrid and Chelsea in particular have been rotating managers with a speed so blinding, it’s worrying no one has decided to attach a turbine to their managerial seat. In the same vein, in English football, there has always been a constant . . . an unchanging force, an omnipresent one of sorts. If you needed to conquer England, then you knew you had to first subdue this power located in Manchester. Alex Ferguson. Red nose, Scottish, annoying, excellent, efficient, bad tempered, domineering, capable of unimaginable feats of ‘hair drying’, Alex Ferguson has become an ever present in the Premier League.

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier LeagueFergie looking different without the glasses and scowl

However, the horizon is changing. Sir Alex has just announced that he would be leaving after ‘knocking Liverpool off their perch’ and getting United their twentieth league trophy. This has plunged numerous United supporters to the depths of despair and alcoholism(ok, maybe not that many) while the rest of them are left hoping and praying that the club can find similarly stable hands to take their beloved club forward. Pep, Jose, Rafa, Manuel and many other names are thrown into the hat as potential replacements. David Moyes, nevertheless is the Chosen One. Alex Ferguson has chosen David as his replacement and with that thrust the ultimate challenge onto the lean, Scottish shoulders of David Moyes.

David-Moyes-1878429Seriously, that’s the guy who will be replacing Ferguson

Fast forward by two months, and the ultimate challenge has kicked up a notch in difficulty without a ball being kicked in anger. Sir Alex Ferguson by any definition, in the football world is a great man. His achievements-so many, his feats-so dizzying, his scowl-so severe. There is a reason why Robert Greene’s 41st Law of Power clearly warns it’s power-seeking readers to ‘avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes’. By accepting this job, David Moyes, who by the way has never won a major trophy, has accepted the most thankless job of any manager in England and probably the world. ‘How does one begin to replace Sir Alex Ferguson?’ is the question. It seems a herculean task at best, one that very few people believe David Moyes is capable of. This is his first challenge.

david-moyes-Hey! Anderson!! Drop that Pie! You’re too fat already

David Moyes has to convince United that he has the skill set and mentality necessary to manage a team as big as Manchester United successfully. United in the last twenty years have been able to consistently lift trophies even when it seemed impossible (the 1999 Champion’s League Final is a very adequate example). However, in more recent times, Alex Ferguson’s teams have become much more apt at the art of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat despite his teams becoming progressively worse/less glamorous/more Welbeck-y(delete as appropriate). You’ll find very few people seriously arguing that a midfield of Beckham, Giggs, Keane and Scholes was not on a-whole-nother level to Carrick, Ashley Young, Valencia and a 37 year old Scholes. Yet Sir Alex was a few defeats away from breaking the record points tally with the latter midfield line-up! Astonishing, right? The man had been able to instill an unshakeable belief in his arguably average players motivating these mere mortals to produce performances gods would be proud of. David Moyes has been able to do something vaguely resembling this at Everton but without the pressure of expectancy to win every trophy in sight. He will have to repeat the trick on a much larger scale, to a much larger audience and with infinitely more pressure.

david-moyes-620-244797860-3261601David has to repeat this and actually win some real trophies

Now however, in addition to the pressure of expectancy, he also has to face the rejuvenated challenge from London in the form of a Jose Mourinho-led Chelsea, a now cash-rich Arsenal(let’s believe them this time while marveling at their soon-to-be-announced capture of Gonzalo Higuain) and a Tottenham team off the back of its highest points tally, possessing Bale and who are a top striker away from becoming a real force to reckon with. One then goes on to factor in the worsening state of the United team, the talent pool of their cross town neighbours (which is about to get even more terrifying with the addition of Jesus!!!, Manuel Pellegrini and Jovetic) and lest I forget, the renewed threat from the classic Suarez-Sturridge-Mkhitaryan(he was signed, right?) axis over at Liverpool (Apologies, these lists are never complete without a joke). It is at this point that it becomes clear that David Moyes faces a challenge which is probably as difficult if not more difficult than any Ferguson faced during his time at United.

DavidDavid’s like; “Chillax, I got this”

As if his task wasn’t arduous enough, he has to contend with the loss of Thiago-their prime transfer target- to Bayern Munich and the ‘delicate situation’ with Wayne Rooney and his much publicized wish to leave the club as soon as possible. The Rooney situation in particular appears like a lose-lose one(A story for another day). The player is apparently ‘angry and confused’ at his new role in the club and David Moyes will need the wisdom of Solomon and the tact of  . . .  well . . . anybody you know who is really tactful. These two ‘sagas’ as well as the apparent rebuttal by Fabregas has got numerous fans wondering whether the relatively austere David Moyes will be able to attract Europe’s top talent to Old Trafford especially now that it has become clearer that United need reinforcements especially in midfield.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Everton v Manchester United - Goodison ParkThey kinda look like father and son, right?

David Moyes will have trying times ahead for sure. One cannot overstate the enormity of the challenge he faces. He has stepped into a great man’s shoes, he doesn’t have any stand-out attributes that will make the supporters naturally gravitate towards him, he has very little experience at the deep end of the football spectrum and has never worked under as much pressure as he is likely to face in Manchester. He needs to rebuild an ageing team, he needs to handle volatile transfer situations and he needs to do all these while in competition with some of the toughest fishes in the football sea. The only two things that seem to be going for him are the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson endorsed him and he signed a six-year deal meaning the indebted club will be a tad reluctant to let him go. This means he will be afforded a degree of time to perform. David Moyes needs to rise to the occasion superbly, else his Ultimate Challenge could very easily turn out to be his Ultimate Failure and subsequently, his Ultimate Nightmare.

By I.V Okata . . . an avid football lover

Follow him on Twitter @Izutadgaffer

 

Picture Sources –

liverpoolecho.co.uk, huffingtonpost.co.uk, dailyrecord.co.uk, www1.skysports.co.uk

Guest Article 1: My Phone, My China

If you want to write a guest post on gistoscope, check below this article for details . . .

I say ignorance is a virtue. One that gives you freedom. . . The freedom to do whatever you choose without any iota of guilt or feeling that you might be doing things in a fashionably incorrect way. Do note that the fact that an act is classified as incorrect doesn’t necessarily equate to it being wrong(but that’s a discussion for another day).

As humans , we constantly strive to improve ourselves, meaning at almost every point in time, we are in a constant battle against the bliss that is ignorance. With our constant wish to improve and advance ourselves, we need to place ourselves in the best position to take advantage of opportunities that might come our way. In my sojourn into the world of knowledge, I have realized that humans(myself included – I’m not an alien, you know) pick up ideas in every nook and cranny and have the capability of learning the most profound and eminent of lessons from the least expected of places.

Archimedes learnt about floatation and density while taking his bath and Isaac Newton’s relatively arcane Law of Gravitation was famously motivated by an ‘innocent’ apple. That apple could and would probably have hit every other one of the six(abi seven) billion people in the world today and would in probability, not elicit a similar reaction. However, it did for Newton. And not only because he was a genius but because he had  a solid, unique foundation in that field and was poised to take advantage of such ‘luck’. I digress though. Not every one of us is or could be a Newton. However, each and every one of us can and should try to stand out in whatever way we can. I learnt this lesson from the cell ‘phone war’ in my country.

It started in the year 2000 A.D when our dear OBJ allowed the importation of the GSM- for some reason, we still aren’t manufacturing them(sad really and also a discussion for another day). The brand names at the time, no matter what they were, were not placed under any sort of classification by we, the consumers. All of them were classified as GSMs, phones or cellulars. Those were the days before coloured screens, polyphonic ringtones and MMSes. During those dark ages(yea, in hindsight, they were), the phones were not even capable of texting up to 160 characters.

3597870-used-old-gsm-cell-phonesThe first set of cell phones . . nice, right?

Before I get distracted on memory lane and forget the message at hand; the fact is all types of brand names, without any sort of bias were made available to the public whether it was Nokia, Alcatel, Siemens, Motorolla or any other phone. All were appreciated without any favour or fervour accorded to any.  There was equal competition for the massive market yet unexplored and this led to the first ‘Phone War’.

Then the time came when SMSes were no more enough for us. We wanted more and we got the MMS. Soon after, we needed cameras on our phones as well as better ringtones and so many more features. It was at that point my father’s Siemens A35 started becoming antiquated. It was also at that time I started hearing, for the first time, about JAVA. Being an ardent reader, I still wonder how it was that I ever got to misunderstand the acronym to imply a game software or something of the sorts. I guess it was because I kept seeing said acronym whenever I launched a game on a ‘china phone’.

15_27_08_Motorola_Talkabout_180There was a time when this was the symbol of ‘swag’

Did I say ‘China phone’ ? Of course, I did. I can’t believe I got there so soon. Well that single name was the cause of a lot of controversy at the time. How it came about is as mysterious as practically every other market trend. In other words, you could find out for yourself as I have absolutely no idea since these were not the only phones which were made/manufactured/coupled in China. But what I saw happen, although not a phone owner at the time was this;

china_phonesClassic China phones

The first casualties and victors of the first ‘Phone War’ emerged. The victors worthy to be mentioned were Motorolla, Samsung and Nokia. Of which, only the latter two still remain of relevance in the contemporary Nigerian phone market.

Soon after, we began to have the stand-out brands and imitations. At that time more people could get their hands on phones,  and as is typical of all mass propelled actions, the issues of fashion came into play. True, the imitations or ‘china phones’ as we called them were not as good as the brands. They were known only for their unnecessarily lurid lights and similarly strident sounds. Nevertheless, they were not as bad as most made out and still displayed admirable creativity. After all, they did introduce the Two-Sim idea and produced significantly cheaper phones. However, despite mine or any other person’s opinion, you could not be a ‘fly guy’ while using a ‘China phone'(crowd mentality, huh?).

Since then, the market has evolved and Blackberries and iPhones(hopefully, I’ll live to see the iPhone 5,000s) are the big dogs who now run the roost with the aforementioned duo of Nokia and Samsung offering stiff competition. Funny enough, most ‘fly people’ now use a branded ‘China phone’ that goes by the name of Techno, and at the rate this ‘China Phone’ is growing, they could be a major player in the market very soon.

Futuristic-iphone-concept.previewNow, this is a game changer . ..

So what’s the moral of this relatively long-winded story? Well, here it is: no matter who or what you are, no matter the sector or area you find yourself in, distinguishing yourself will always place you at a distinct advantage over bias of any sort. So, be unique, try to stand out, carve a niche for yourself, be known for something. The moment you have your own forte, your own brand, is the same moment you start your journey down the glorious path to greatness. It is only then you become truly noticeable, significant and worthy of discussion. As a famous Nigerian musician once sang; ‘If nobody talks about you, then you are nobody’.

‘By Chika ‘GC-Cgp’ Obani  . . . A guest writer

You could find him on Facebook @facebook.com/obanicd

N/B: For Interested Guest Writers;

Every Wednesday . . . hopefully . . . we’ll post an article from a guest writer. So, if you feel you’d like to contribute, just send in your article and it will be published on the next ‘available’ Wednesday. By available, we mean there are some regulations we follow when posting guest articles and the next ‘dated’ Wednesday might not be ‘available’. Therefore an article sent in on Friday this week, for instance, might not make it up to the blog by next week Wednesday. 

Also, please endeavour to write articles between 500 and 1000 words on ‘relevant’ subject areas. The editor will get back to you with the final piece before it is posted on the blog.

Here’s the email to send in your guest posts- rainbowsixplus@gmail.com .

We look forward to receiving your posts. Happy Writing.

Gist Editor, Gistoscope

Temptation : the Story, Part 3

This is the third installment of this story . . .

Here’s a link to the first part – Temptation: the Story →

And here’s one to the second part – Temptation: the Story, Part Two →

PART THREE BEGINS HERE. . .

Terror gripped me as goose pimples appeared all over my body and my heart rate accelerated exponentially. There on the floor was Nneka, normally vivacious but now just lying there, still as the sea with blood dripping down the side of her mouth.

Nneka!!!!!! I screamed again.

Still no reply, no twitch, no signal of recognition, whatsoever. I rushed to her unmoving body. Years of seeing movies dictated that the first thing to do in these situations was to check for a pulse. I immediately grabbed her right arm and tried to see if I’d spot the pulse.  I couldn’t feel anything probably because I didn’t exactly know what to look out for and had no prior experience looking for one. My fear increased even further as I thought of what to do next. It then occurred to me that I should have paid more attention during those first aid classes we were given when we were much younger. . .  ‘I would definitely have to go for one of such after this encounter’ I thought to myself. Once more, based on a solid background in watching movies, I decided that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was probably the best line of action but the blood was beginning to form a small pool on the floor beside her so I was a tad disheartened to try it. My brain was blank, I couldn’t think straight as I stood up to consider the next best line of action.

‘What on earth could have happened between me leaving the room and now that could have caused her to black out completely?’ I asked myself, as it occurred to me that pouring some water on her face might do the trick. I rushed into her bathroom to get the water I needed. I sped in, slipped on the wet floor, felt my head strike something dense, saw blackness gradually cover my eyes and passed out . . .

After what seemed like forever, I opened my eyes to utter darkness as I immediately discovered that I was lying on cold, wet tiles. ‘Where on earth was I’?. Then, everything flooded back.

‘Oh my God!’ I muttered to myself as I struggled to get back to my feet.

The back of my head was throbbing painfully. I reached behind to feel if there was an open wound there. There was none, just excruciating pain. I looked at my watch in the darkness, the two glowing watch hands indicated the time was 10:12 pm. ‘Thank God’ I thought to myself, hoping it was still the same day. It was apparent that there had been a power outage sometime during my black-out as the formerly well-lighted bathroom was now as dark as a dungeon. I brought out my phone and switched on its torchlight as I groggily stumbled into the bedroom. Nneka was still on the floor but wasn’t bleeding anymore. The pool of blood beside her wasn’t much bigger than I remembered so I assumed she had not bled to death. I grabbed her petite body and lifted her onto my shoulders. I carried her to my car, opened the back door and laid her carefully on the seat. I ran to the gate, opened it then ran back to my car. I got into the driver’s side, stuck the key in and turned. The car sputtered a for bit then went off. I tried again and got the same reply. ‘What the hell is going on today?!!’ I cursed angrily.

I turned and turned the ignition but like a mule, the car stubbornly refused to start. By now, it was almost 10:30pm and everywhere was quiet. ‘Nneka isn’t going to die like this’ I said to myself while my ever logical side wondered if there was a better way to die. I ran to the next house and banged incessantly on the door while shouting ‘Help, it’s an emergency’. There was no reply. It was then I realized the room was locked from the outside and recalled Nneka mentioning her neighbour travelling during her call earlier in the day. It was G.R.A, so I was almost sure there were no taxis still moving around at that time yet I ran out to see if I could find any. The closest main road was a ten minute run from there and my head was still pounding. I was definite that I would faint if I even considered running that distance in my condition. After five fruitless minutes of waving at every passing car(which subsequently accelerated on seeing a supposedly mad man aggressively waving at them) while shouting for help, I brought out my phone and started scrolling furiously through the contacts. I tried the emergency numbers I was given at an office security briefing but they were all ‘unavailable at the moment’. I tried to remember friends who lived around that area who could come to my help as fast as possible. Mexy’s name popped in first. Right from our school days, I knew him to be a light sleeper so I was positive he’d wake up easily even if he had slept. I called him immediately and true to form, he picked on the first ring sounding as alive as ever.

‘What’s up?’ He asked.

‘I need your help, man. Abeg, drive down to 23 Eligbam Close for G.R.A now, It’s an emergency, I need to take someone to the hospital’ I hurriedly said.

‘Sorry, man but I’m out of town. Work wahala o. Call Ayo na, he should be able to help’.

I hung up and dialed Ayo’s number but unfortunately, it was switched off. I continued to scroll through the numbers on my phone as I soldiered through the pain back to Nneka’s apartment. Then, it hit me. Chizzie lived very close to this place as well. I never really enjoyed her company but I was in no position to choose. I called her and she picked on the third ring. From her voice, it was apparent that she had been sleeping for a while.

‘Hey, what’s up? why are you calling so late?’ She asked calmly.

‘I’m sorry to disturb but I desperately need your help. A friend of mine needs to get to a hospital now and my car is messing up badly. Please, could you drive down to 23 Eligbam Close as soon as possible to come pick us up. Please, I really need you to’. I pled with her.

‘I’m really sleepy o, plus I took cough medicine earlier this night so I don’t think I can drive in this condition’ She said before adding;

‘But I’ll call someone to come there as -‘ the other end of the line went dead off all of a sudden.

I looked at my phone and the screen was dark. I pressed a few buttons but nothing happened. The battery was dead.

‘SH*T!!!!!!!!’ I cursed angrily.’ What the f*ck did I do to get myself into all this?’ I pondered, as I stepped into the still open gate. I got to the car and Nneka’s lifeless body was in the same state I left it – it was still as still as death. I looked at my watch, it read 10:53pm. The pain coming from the back of my head was becoming more intense so I rested on the side of the car. Numerous memories of Nneka flooded my head – from the day we met to the day we drove seven hours to Osun for a mutual friend’s wedding. Nneka was certainly one of the few true friends I had. She was caring, intelligent and, as I told her so many times, ‘she understood me’. For so long, I thought about asking her out. The timing was never right and as we grew closer, such feelings gradually morphed into something else and I began to see her like a sister. Nevertheless, now ‘my sister’ lay in my car and for all I knew, she could already be dead. The word ‘dead’ lingered in my head. The closest person I had lost before now was my grandmother and I was still a kid then. My mum had told me my granny had gone to heaven and in my childish innocence, I actually thought she’d come back one day. Losing Nneka would tear a big hole in my heart. I was too sure of that.

As I rested my groggy head, I waited in more hope than anticipation that whoever Chizzie was sending would come while I was still conscious. Then I heard something, I raised my head to look at the source of the sound and I saw car headlights. I prayed the car would turn in and it did. As it turned in, the lights blinded me temporarily. As my eyes slowly adjusted to the light, I realized it was a small salon car. The car ground to a halt beside me and the driver’s and passenger’s doors popped open almost at the same time. Two figures emerged and ran over quickly to where I was. The pain and light had clouded my already overloaded senses and meant I couldn’t be certain who the two people were. However, from the little I could make out, it was clear the driver was male and the passenger female. I motioned the driver towards Nneka and he immediately started attempting to carry her out. The female figure ran straight to me and asked;

‘Are you okay?’

I recognized the voice instantly. It was unmistakable. It was the most soothing voice I had ever heard. It was the voice of Jessica.

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

By Gareth Glover . . .  A pseudonym